GM bets on EVs to turn around Chinese slide
General Motors is overhauling its Chinese line-up with a greater emphasis on electric cars and smart-driving technology to stem a slide in sales after more than two decades of growth in a country that contributes nearly a fifth of its profit.
GM’s new China boss Julian Blissett told Reuters it would renew its focus on luxury Cadillacs, roll out bigger but greener sports-utility vehicles (SUVs) and target entry-level buyers with low-cost micro electric vehicles (EVs).
He said new technologies such as EVs and cars with near hands-free driving for highways would play a key role in GM’s China initiatives, which are part of a push to regain momentum lost in the face of intense competition and shifting tastes.
Blissett, who replaced China veteran Matt Tsien this year, spoke to Reuters ahead of GM’s Tech Day event in Shanghai later on Wednesday, where he and Chief Executive Mary Barra are expected to announce some of the new technology and product rollout plans.
“This market is rapidly electrifying. Cadillac is on a path to very heavy electrification. Buick is also going to heavily electrify,” said Blissett, adding that GM’s Chinese brands Baojun and Wuling would also go down the electric route.
“The market is changing dramatically. So the concept of standing still in China doesn’t work.”
GM sells its Chevrolets, Buicks and Cadillacs in China as well as its local brands Wuling and Baojun and has been one of the foreign success stories in the world’s biggest auto market along with Germany’s Volkswagen.
But GM sales have taken a hit, falling to 3.1 million vehicles in 2019 from a record 4 million in 2017.